Week 36
Spirit’s handler reports that “he is comfortable and demonstrating no signs of stress or aggression around other dogs.  He doesn’t like when they approach him running or barking, however.  In most cases, Spirit will react when another dog is attempting to invite him to play, but he is unwilling to do so.  I try to encourage him by allowing close contact and general association, but he has never demonstrated playfulness around other dogs.”  One of the other handlers in the program writes that “Spirit has come a long way.  All of his good behaviors have improved and any bad behaviors have been minimized.  He takes to strangers now very well and if you have a treat, you have a friend!  He has a lot of personality and different moods.  It’s exciting to see what he has in store for you from day to day.  You can never get bored with Spirit, because of all of the personality he has.”

Week 35
“Spirit has developed a pattern that supports the idea that he is a companionable watch dog!  He will go in his crate on his own when he notices me getting ready for bed.  When I’m in bed, Spirit will come out of his crate and lay down under the bunk with his head facing the door.  He will alert me upon any knock or loud sounds at the door.  He is doing great adhering to cues without the benefit of a treat.  Spirit and I are also working on the rally course.  He’s still having trouble with around the back, finishing on my left side, but we’ll keep trying.  At this point, his training for possible adoption solely rests on proper placement.  Spirit is a great little, warm and compassionate dog in his own aloof way.”

Week 34
Spirit’s leg is getting noticeably stronger!  “He is like a new dog with a lot more energy.  He doesn’t lay around as much, which requires us to burn off some of that energy.  We take 30-minute walks three times a day, which is working out splendidly.  Spirit is also doing great with mingling with people on the tier too. He also continues to progress with his mannerisms with the other dogs.”  Spirit may still fare better in a home where he will be the only dog, but “if you’re looking for a consistent watch dog, Spirit is ideal.  He will alert you to all knocks received from wanted and unwanted guests.”  You’re a special boy, Spirit, and we know there’s a special family out there for you!

Week 33 
Spirit’s handler reports this week that “it has been hit and miss with successful recalls when he is fixated on birds in trees.  Although he will come more often than not, it is still a work in progress.  I find that leashing and redirecting him works well.”  Even with his love of birds, “Spirit is doing great with his daily walks.  He seems to be more confident, and walks without complaint.  He is also doing extremely well with human contact.  There have been times when two people have patted and rubbed him at the same time, with no negative reaction.” This pup also got gold stars this week for doing a lot better with other dogs in his personal space!  Congratulations on another good report, Spirit!

Week 32
Spirit’s handler concentrated more on what he needed his pup to do, rather than sometimes giving in to Spirit’s stubbornness.  He reinforced this pup’s basic commands, and reinforced his sitting at every doorway without the benefit of treats every time!   There was also a breakthrough during the grooming sessions!  “He rolled over on his back, and allowed me to cut the hair on his belly.  That was a first, so I immediately rewarded him with a treat and excited GOOD BOYS!!!”  In fact, Spirit received gold stars from his handler this week for both his listening more and allowing him to do a little bit more than before when grooming him.!  We’re all proud of you, little boy!

Week 31 
This pup’s handler reports this week that “despite his flaws and his being uncomfortable around the other dogs, Spirit is still a very good dog.”  Now that Spirit is doing much better physically, his handler will concentrate more on his socialization with the other dogs in the program, as well as his commands.  It will be a team effort because several of the other handlers have offered to help Spirit work with their dogs to help him find the road that leads to his forever home!   Thanks to this pup’s handler for bringing him this far.  We look forward to hearing about Spirit’s continued successes in the program!

Week 30
Spirit‘s handler had some positive news to pass along to us this week!  “Spirit is doing very well with his therapy exercises, and I feel strength in his leg.  He also deserves triple gold stars for listening to cues and for good behavior. He has been playful and less stubborn.  He also is doing a lot better with basic cues with and without treats.  During a few training sessions, I worked with Spirit using one of his squeaky toys instead of treats, and he did very well.  On another bright note, he is very good with the many different people who come up to him to give him a pet.  Spirit is certainly a lot more accepting of people than he was before.”

Week 29
“Spirit had a normal week insofar as his training, physical therapy exercises and feedings.  He’s been using his injured leg consistently, especially when we walk slow.  One day, his training consisted of off-leash walking and reinforcing the heel command.  Spirit responded very well 80% of the time.”  In fact, this pup got gold stars for his efforts!    As his handler has told us before, “Spirit doesn’t like to fool around and is still leery of people he doesn’t know.  I will continue to find any opportunity to have him meet new people and reward him with treats and good boy.”  We’re proud of your continued progress, little boy!

Week 28 
As those of you who have been following Spirit’s journey through the program know, he has some issues with one of his back legs.  His handler tells us that walking him slowly before administering his therapeutic exercise seems to be effective.  There also seems to be no problems with his adjusting to his new medications.  Spirit’s handler also concentrated on desensitizing him with hand grooming clippers.  “I show Spirit the clippers, touching him mainly on the limbs just before feeding and offering him treats.  He is extremely uncomfortable with clippers on his feet and legs, but shows no reaction on the rest of his body.”  As you can see from his new picture on the website, all of Spirit’s grooming has paid off!  What a handsome boy he is, and check out those eyelashes!  Keep working through your issues, little boy!  There’s a home waiting just for you!

Week 27
This week, Spirit did well with all of his basic cues.  He also “was relaxed and interacted with the men on the tier rather well.  He has a number of admirers who visit him regularly.  He seems to really enjoy the attention.  But no matter how excited he may be to greet someone with his tail wagging frantically, Spirit will almost always turn his back, receive a few pets and rubs, and roll out.”  That’s one thing we love about you, little boy.  You live up to your name by being a free Spirit!

Week 26 
Spirit’s handler reports this week that this pup “continues to demonstrate obedience when inside, however when outside he gets caught up in a trance-like state when he focuses on birds.  It is difficult for him to recall when he is chasing birds  He will pull on the leash when walking where there are birds close by, but overall Spirit is a good dog.  He continues to do well with all of the other dogs, and he is more receptive to meeting new people.  We’ve also have been working with Spirit to adhere to cues with different people asking for a certain behavior, and he is doing very well.”  Another good report, little boy!  We’re proud of you, Spirit!

Week 25
“Spirit is becoming more active, thanks in part to his new exercise routine. He continues to respond to all of his basic cues.   Outside, he sometimes is so focused on following a scent I really have to get his attention before he adheres to a cue.  On the flip side to Spirit’s distractions, as long as I continue to walk the track, he is not far behind or in front.  He will either sprint ahead and fall back or wait and catch up to me.  Spirit also encountered a few new visitors this week and that went well.” Stay focused!  You’re doing fine, little boy!

Week 24 
Spirit’s handler reports that “his meets and greets have improved nicely.”  This pup pack-walked with Rocky this week with no incident or signs of jealousy.  He also walked the track at least ten times, showing no unwillingness to do so!  Last week we told you that Spirit is wary of what is presented to him to digest.  His handler says that “peanut butter is working extremely well with his meds.  Spirit is a very good dog.  He listens, and although he is stubborn at times, he will adhere to cues.  He just seems to be one of those dogs who needs time and tender loving before he feels totally comfortable with his person.”  

Week 23 
Spirit did well meeting the new pups in the program this week!   He showed a little jealousy when one of his former handlers paid attention to his new charge, Rocky, but after some pack-walking, all seemed to be fine.  Since Spirit is on meds, “he is getting extremely wary of what goes into his mouth he inspects everything and is taking extremely small bites so he can taste the contents of his treats, food, etc.  He also seems a lot more confident and more laid-back.  He welcomes the company of other inmates, and loves to get belly rubs from them.”  You continue to improve each week, Spirit!  Keep up the good work!

Week 22
One of Spirit’s handlers asked us to share the note he received from an individual at the prison.  “He is a very friendly and approachable dog.  I like the fact that he takes his time in getting to know you before he becomes playful with you.  He demonstrates loyalty to his trainer while being very obedient when he is told what or not to do.  Overall I like Spirit as a good pet.  I would definitely adopt him as my dog!  I make it a point to visit him almost every day.”

Week 21 
As those of you who are following Spirit’s journey through the program, you know he has some health issues.  That having been said, he’s coming along very well!  “He has skillfully finessed a way to inspect the pill pockets before swallowing.  I place it in his mouth, tilt his head back and rub lightly under his chin.  He is so smart and cunning.  He definitely deserves an A for effort, and an A for making me a better handler when administering his meds.”  In fact, Spirit was given gold stars from his handlers for his tolerance of the pill pockets!  This pup still gets along with the other dogs in the program, and he loves to run and chase birds when out in the doggie yard.  “Spirit seems to be much happier and more playful.  He also is extremely mellow and more receptive when greeting new people.  In my opinion, Spirit needs to be in a family where his owner(s) are patient and allow him to create the trust he needs to feel safe.  He is capable of being a very good companion for some lucky dog owner.”

Week 20
Spirit is back in the program!  “Upon arriving back, I was greeted with a wagging tail and a curious Spirit.  He was back and forth all over the cell.  He settled back in rather quickly, greeting many of the inmates on the tier.  He is doing much better and has not missed a beat since his return.  Spirit is doing well with his meds, eating and exercising.  He seems to be in good spirits and continues to adhere to cues.”  In fact, his handler reports that this pup seems to be bilingual because he understands his basic cues in Spanish as well as English!   Spirit is also known for loving to laying around or pacing back and forth from cell to cell checking on each of his handlers.  “He is still the same character with a mind of his own and a lot of personality.  Spirit has many different moods for different situations and each one is very comical.”  It’s obvious that your handlers are happy you have returned!  We’re so glad that you’re feeling better, Spirit! 

Week 19 
Spirit left the big house for his foster home this week.  Although his handler wishes he could have done more, he’s proud that this pup passed the Canine Good Citizen practice test under his care.  He’s sorry to see Spirit go, but is “thrilled to know he is in a better place.  Spirit is a good, warmhearted dog who deserves the best.”

Week 18
Spirit has been going to therapy for an old injury to his leg, and he’s showing improvement!  One of his handlers reports that “I experienced him doing a play bow with Huck for the first time this week. Spirit has been observing the other dogs play and it is obvious that he has not done a lot of playing, but he is learning and improving. Spirit is a house dog.  He goes out for short walks, then he is ready to come back in and chill.”  This pup is taking a hiatus from the program to concentrate on his therapy and rehabilitation in his foster home.  We, and your handlers, wish you well, Spirit!

Week 17
Spirit’s handlers told us this week that “for the last few days, he has been more obedient.  He’s adhering to the cues given, and is sitting while entering and exiting doorways.  It’s surprisingly pleasing to see him be less stubborn.  He has shown great improvement.”  Spirit’s food was recently changed, and ever since “he tries to manipulate new people into giving him treats by backing away from them when they try to pet him.  Spirit must remember that when he first started training, he would get treats.”  One of his handlers gave him gold stars for “everything.  Spirit is ready for a loving home and a family who will spoil him and enjoy his personality and behaviors.”

Week 16
Spirit’s handlers report that he is “adapting very nicely with loud noises.  Before, he would bark excessively when he heard thunder, lawn mowers and the cart that rolls by from time to time outside of the fence.  He would react to anything out of the norm, but now he will no longer react.”  Spirit got great kudos from his handlers for his training this week!  “Despite his arrogance and stubbornness, he did quite well passing the Canine Good Citizen practice test.  Four thumbs up!”  Even though he can be stubborn at times, Spirit “is full of personality and he cracks me up sometimes with some of the things that he does.  If he is being called by someone other than us [his handlers], it’s like he knows they are just saying his name, don’t want to pet him and he will ignore them.”  We HOPE you find a family who enjoys your SPIRIT as much as your handlers do, little boy! 

Week 15
Spirit’s handlers report that he is doing extremely well with the other dogs in the program, except on occasion when he tries to avoid and get away from Huck.  “Spirit has been coming along very well.  He continues to adhere to all of his basic cues and seems less distracted around the other dogs. Overall, he has a calm attitude.  Spirit is ready for a home.”

Week 14
“Spirit has been very active this week.  He knows a lot of his basic commands and is working on tricks like catching treats off of his nose.”  One of his handlers tells us that “he can still be stubborn at times, and even high powered treats won’t help.  I will continue to cue him in different situations and mark with a treat or a good boy and pat.”  Spirit still prefers playing with his handlers rather than his pack mates, but he loves the attention he receives on the tier.  “A lot of the inmates really like petting Spirit’s soft coat.  With us, he likes a good belly rub and sometimes playfully boxes with his two front paws.  Spirit has a lot of personality and he makes me laugh every day, or have something to comment about with his actions and different moods.  He deserves to be in a loving home and have a family.  Spirit does not need a lot of attention and would be the perfect house dog.”

Week 13
Spirit’s handlers tell us that he “had a very good meet and greet with all of the new dogs.  He seems comfortable around all of them.  There were a few times Spirit got up and moved away from Huck because Huck is a playful dog and Spirit didn’t want any part of that. In fact, Spirit doesn’t play with any of the other dogs.  He will sniff them and let them sniff him, but he has never played with another dog.”  As for his training, his handlers gave this pup gold stars for all of his commands!  “Spirit has come a very long way in the HOPE program.  He enjoys being petted for long periods of time and all of his training has made him a well-rounded dog who is ready for a loving home and family."

Week 12
Spirit’s handlers report that this pup still gets comments on how far he has come in the program.  “They comment every day on how much he has changed, and I give him gold stars for all of his commands.”  This pup isn’t very playful with other dogs.  “He gets along with them, but he is content merely walking around, chasing birds and doing his own thing. “  One of his handlers tells us that “Spirit is amazingly kind and gentle when seeking attention.  When he greets me at the door, he will approach me with his tail wagging and circle around happily in a tight spin.  There are other times when Spirit will lay his head on my lap or nudge my hand lightly with his nose.  After a positive greeting, he will lay relaxed by my side.  When Spirit is looking at I don’t know what, when I speak to him, he will wag his tail in acknowledgement time and time again.”

Week 11
“Spirit is a ‘peopleinzer’ with his flopping ears and pillow soft coat.”  This pup continues to do great with meet and greet situations. He had a wonderful time meeting a new officer one day.  “After about 45 seconds, she said ‘I just love him.’” His handlers say that things can still bother this little boy. “Spirit can be a little firecracker or pistol when he is bothered by something… like lawn mowers, birds or anything out of the ordinary.  Spirit will respond, yet through it all, he is a good dog when he feels secure and trusts the people he is with.  He roams between our cells. It’s funny because our cells are his limit, unless one of us goes into the rec hall. He will follow us, but he’s very obedient and trained to stay with either handler.”  For anyone interested in adopting this sweet boy, you should know that Spirit “loves affection, chin rubs, belly rubs and treats!”

Week 10
“Spirit has come a long way in this program.  He is a new dog from when he first arrived.”  This pup is doing really well with his commands, and allowing people other than his handlers to approach and pet him.  “Spirit has a lot of character and personality, and is not your everyday dog.  He has a lot of characteristics that will keep you entertained and say ‘that’s just Spirit.’  He is a loving dog who loves treats and listens to you about 99% of the time.  The other 1% is his personality taking over.  He can be extremely stubborn, only doing what he wants to do what he wants to do it, but it takes no time for him to come back around and listen.  He knows which boundaries he is not allowed to venture into, yet he seems to know that he is free to roam between our two cells whenever the doors are open.  He will not go any further.  I believe Spirit is ready for a loving home and a person or family to bond with.”  Paws crossed you find one soon, little boy! 

Week 9
Spirit’s handlers report that he “is a very likeable, popular dog.  He is a good and well-mannered.  He truly listens and obeys for the most part.  His mood towards other people and the other dogs can change from day to day.  He might want to be playful or he might just want to go off and do his own thing.  Spirit seems to understand every word you say. Several times this week, I cued him to wait at the door when I went into the rec hall to get water and I could trust that he would be right by the door when I got back.”  Spirit got gold stars from his handlers again this week for his meet and greets. “People always like feeling his soft coat. Even without treats involved, he allowed several people to give him small pats on the head, wagging his tail the whole time.  Spirit has a personality like no other dog that has been in this program.  When he bonds with you, you can see and feel his excitement when you enter the room.”  Of course, since he likes his treats, “If you are eating something, he will try to give you the little sad puppy eyes for some.  But for the most part, Spirit is laid back and just a cool and unique dog that would fit well with a person who has a lot of personality and will get a kick out of a lot of the human behavior Spirit has in him.”  Could that be you?

 Week 8 
“Spirit is the right name for this dog because he has a lot of Spirit and a lot of personality. He understands and obeys most, if not all, of his cues.  However, there are occasions when Spirit seems to know there may not be any treats involved in those extracurricular activities such as jump and high five.  He will circle around and prance proudly as if to say ‘NO TREATS, NO TRICKS.’  It is funny, because he knows the cues.”  Spirit has improved a lot with his skills since he is sleeping in one place and one handler doing the primary training.  “It is giving Spirit more structure and consistency, and his attitude has improved.  He listens better to both of us, but he still has the freedom to walk in between our cells.”  This pup is doing a lot better with his squeaky toys.  He will anxiously wait in sit position until given the cue to go get it and will release the toy when he hears the “out” command.  Spirit’s handlers report that he is “doing extremely well with his meet and greets this week.  One day, he met the Assistant Warden and Chief of Security. He did really well allowing pats, giving his paw while sitting and accepting treats from them.  Three thumbs up for Spirit!”  His handlers describe this pup as a loving and great companion with a soft, beautiful coat.  When he gets excited to see his friends on the tier, he wiggles his little body like he is about to shake out of his fur.”   You’re doing great, sweet boy!

Week 7 
"Spirit is the talk of the tier. Everyone loves to interact with him and comments on how much he has changed and come around. He can be stubborn at times, but he obeys his commands most of the time. At the mere mention of a treat, Spirit will dance with excitement and wag his tail or look up curiously as if to say, ‘WHAT’S NEXT? What do you want me to do?’ Spirit is doing extremely well off-leash! Two thumbs up!” This pup has become comfortable with having people around him and is interacting with the other dogs. He likes to be aware of his surroundings and will alert you to anything out of the norm. Spirit loves his time with his handlers! “He cracks me up every time he sees me walk past him towards my cell. He hops up and walks back and forth between my cell and [his other handler’s] like he knows that those are the places he stays. Spirit is a warm, pleasant and funny pet friend who requires and gives affection. He is known for laying at your side while you are reading, watching TV or sleeping.” We HOPE you can snuggle with your forever family members soon, Spirit!

Week 6
“Spirit has come a long way since entering the program.” As you have read, this pup’s main issue is resource guarding his toys…especially his squeaky ones. His handlers are patiently working with him, with the help of treats, to overcome this and are encouraged by his progress! Spirit also “is more comfortable and continues to warm up to people more readily. As a result, he has a lot more friends on the tier! Spirit is even sporting new grooming to go with his new attitude!” Way to go, little boy!

Week 5 
“For the most part, Spirit is doing really well with reaching his goals. He is very intelligent and a quick learner.” This pup is doing much better when strangers approach him, but his handlers say that “you can’t just reach out and pet him without the proper awareness.” That having been said, Spirit allowed four new people on the tier to approach him and give him a pet. Also, “the Warden walked right up to Sprit and patted him on the head…a big thumbs up for Spirit *** the wagging spirited tail!” This pup barks at times, when someone comes to his cell door. Some perceive it as a sign of aggression, but while he’s barking, he’ll approach the person with his tail wagging. Spirit also barks at the other dogs as if to seek their attention or out of frustration if he can’t keep up with them during running games. His handlers also continue to work with this pup to trust others other than them around his toys.” Every dog in the program has issues, but we’re proud of Spirit’s handlers for bringing him this far. We agree that “Spirit is a great dog with a lot of personality.”

Week 4 
Spirit’s handlers report that “he has come a long way this week with his social skills and his loose-leash walking. He has settled down and allows more people to approach him kinds of situations.” Spirit also let one of his handlers know when he’s had enough of his walking exercises. “When we approached the entrance after walking at a fast pace several times around the yard, Spirit stopped and would not go any further, letting me know that he was finished. When we went inside we walked a few times around the block. When we got by my cell, Spirit stopped, again telling me he had had enough. He’s a very smart dog.” This pup had a bath this week, and did very well! He likes to dry himself off. “All I did was put the towel on the floor and he rolled and slid on it until he got dry.” In fact, his handler said that the’get dry’ command is now part of Spirit’s repertoire! The inmates on the tier have given this pup th enickname “Mr. Wiggles because when he knows you, he shows that he is excited to see you and wiggles his whole body.” During his quiet moments with his handler,Spirit loves to be pampered by having his belly rubbed and hearing his handlers playfully coo to him. He is a little guy with a big dog personality.”

Week 3 
Spririt’s handlers had a lot of good things to say this week about his progress so far in program. “He is a lot better with people, and seems to be confident in his surroundings as opposed to when he first arrived [at the prison]. The problems that Spirit had on his list when he first arrived was what we tackled the first two days he was here and he hasn’t shown signs of those problems anymore.” Like the other dogs in the program, this pup got to try the new agility course. He had to be guided through the tunnel at first because he was leery of it, but with treats, he easily caught onto the exercise! “Spirit is extremely smart and alert. Most of the time, he knows when he is about to go out if I am fully dressed and pick up his leash. He is out of the crate, does his stretch, goes to the door and does his little spin a few times before going through it. Spirit is the right name for this dog because after he has bonded with you and when he looks at you, it’s as if a spirit has entered his body the way he wags his little tail and his whole bottom goes crazy. He gets excited, making you feel really appreciated and lets you know he missed seeing you. Spirit likes to be bathed, brushed, petted and to play fetch. He will be your friend for life when you give him a treat. He is very well-mannered and obedient. He has a lot of personality and will make a great pet for a lucky family.”

Week 2 
“Spirit is adapting to the atmosphere here, and is getting more comfortable greeting all the people that he sees each day.” Although this pup can still be a little shy around the folks on the meet on the tier, “he becomes easily familiar with them by smelling them, accepting a treat, and finally letting them pet him. After a few times, Spirit treats themlike family.” In addition to his socialization skills, this pup has also done well with his training. “He obeys cues most of the time…especially leave it. He still has some issues with loose-leash walking, but he is relaxing more with the command.” Week two in the program has brought some progress for this pup and some great comments from his handlers. “Spirit is a good name for this dog. He gets excited and makes you feel great about being a handler because you feel like you’re doing some good. He is a little dog with a big dog personality.”

Week 1 
If you’re new to the website, the dogs in our program have issues that prevent them from being adopted. Each dog is assigned an Individual Training Program, which is given to our handlers when they receive their dog. One of Spirit’s handlers admitted that “I thought he was going to be a handful due to his difficult past, but I quickly pressed forward. As I started to work with Spirit, I came to understand his rebellious attitude. In the beginning, he was leery of his surroundings. He backed up a lot, and tried to go into another direction. Within two days, Spirit seemed to get comfortable with his surroundings because he started to smell people without showing any signs of aggression. After just one week, this pup has gotten great marks from his handlers for his adhering to his cues. “Spirit is smart. He learned high five and his give me commands in less than three tries.” He has also come to trust his handlers. “He warmed up quickly. At first he didn’t like to be touched, but now he has offered me his belly to rub on several occasions. Spirit seems to be a very loveable dog once he feels comfortable with his person. When he sees me, he wags his little tail off. He is fun to train.” What a great start, Spirit! We’re proud of you!

UPDATE 2-23-13
Spirit's first day of doggie school was today. He ahdnled all of the new people, sights and sounds very well. Spirit is a fearful little guy who needs some structure and self confidence. You can see in his eyes that he wants to trust and relax, but he's just not quite sure about everything yet. We're hoping this is just the trick to help him find his inner bracve dog. He is an adorable, four year old Cocker Spaniel who is available for adoption through Cocker Spaniel Adoption Center .  Stay tuned for next week's update.